Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Myths, symbols & folklore
forest: "Symbologically distinct from the individual tree, the forest stands in many traditions for an exterior world opposed t the microcosm of arable land. In legends and fairy tales the woods are inhabited by mysterious, usually threatening creatures (witches, dragons, giants, dwarfs, lions, bears, and the like) – symbols of all the dangers with which young people must deal if they are to survive their rites of passage and become mature, responsible adults. This image of the forest goes back to a time when great stretches of land were wooded and still had to be cleared for cultivation.

"In dreams the 'dark woods' represent a disoriented phase, the realm of the unconscious, which the conscious person approaches with great hesitation. The light that in fairy tales often filters through the branches, symbolizes the yearning for a place of refuge. The forest itself, nature in the wild, devoid of human order, is felt to be unsettling and dangerous; in our imaginations, it is often peopled with savages and sprites, but also with fairies who can be benevolent. For a contemplative person, on the other hand, the forest can offer some seclusion from the hustle and bustle of the civilized world. Hermit do not fear the dangers of the woods: they are protected by higher powers…For analytic psychologists the forest often symbolizes the feminine as perceived by a young man: a disturbing terrain that he has yet to explore. In a more general sense, we find in the forest 'the green half-light, the alternation of clearing and darkness that parallels the outwardly invisible life of the unconscious'…" (Biedermann)

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